Data on Health and Well-being of American Indians, Alaska Natives, and Other Native Americans. Food Stamp Quality Control Database (FSPQC)

12/01/2006

Sponsor: U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)
Description: The Food Stamp Program Quality Control Database contains detailed demographic, economic, and Food Stamp Program (FSP) eligibility information for a nationally representative sample of approximately 50,000 participating households. The FSPQC data are generated from monthly quality control (QC) reviews of FSP cases that are conducted by state FSP agencies to assess the accuracy of eligibility determinations and benefit calculations for the states FSP caseload. These data, which are produced annually, are suitable for tabulations of characteristics of food stamp units and for simulating the impact of various FSP policy changes on households and persons currently receiving food stamps. The FSPQC Database is an edited version of the raw datafile generated by the Food Stamp Programs Quality Control (QC) System.
Relevant Policy Issues: Economic Assistance Program Participation Rates, Measures of Well-being for Families/Households, and Factors Contributing to Well-being Disparities of Families.
Data Type(s): Program enrollment data
Unit of Analysis: Analysis is possible at the individual and household levels. The FSPQC lists characteristics for 1-16 members of a household. Individuals included in the database as household members are those eligible for participation in the FSP as well as those who would be considered part of the FSP household but are ineligible to participate because of a variety of reasons. In many of these cases, the income of an ineligible household member is factored into determining the benefit for the eligible portion of the household. Not included in this database are those individuals that are living under the same roof who can be considered a separate FSP household. Examples of these are the elderly or disabled (who have special household status rules) as well as unrelated housemates who purchase and prepare their meals separately.
Identification of AI/AN/NA: Race/ethnicity is self-reported on the application for Food Stamp benefits. The QC reviewer takes this information and incorporates it into the FSPQC database. The reporting categories in the current database are:
  • White, not of Hispanic origin
  • Black, not of Hispanic origin
  • Hispanic
  • Asian or Pacific Islander
  • American Indian or Alaskan Native (AI/AN)

USDA recently announced that these categories are being changed. States have until April 1, 2007 to implement this change. The new categories will capture the following:

  • American Indian or Alaskan Native
  • Asian
  • Black or African-American
  • Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander
  • White
  • American Indian or Alaska Native and White
  • Asian and White
  • Black or African American and White
  • American Indian or Alaska Native and Black or African-American

Additionally, separate categories will be included for each of the race categories above to designate Hispanic origin (e.g., White/Hispanic, White/Non-Hispanic.)

The FSPQC database will be revised to reflect these new reporting requirements for FY 2007.

AI/AN/NA Population in Data Set: Out of the total 48,806 household-level records in the FSPQC, there are 117,456 individuals identified across 16 person-level variables. Of these, 4,050 individuals are coded as AI/AN in 1,371 households. Of the 4,050 AI/AN individuals, 4,013 of them participate in the Food Stamp Program.
Geographic Scope: The geographic scope of the FSPQC is national. A county Federal Information Processing Standards (FIPS) code is assigned to each unit on the FSPQC file. However, the sample size does not allow analyses at the county level. The sample size is sufficient to allow analyses at the state level.
Date or Frequency: The FSPQC is compiled on a yearly basis. The most recent version of the FSPQC available to researchers is from FY 2004. The FSPQC data are typically released in late summer or early fall.
Data Collection Methodology: State FSP agencies conduct monthly case reviews to assess the accuracy of eligibility determinations and benefit calculations for the states FSP caseload. The public use FSPQC database contains all case reviews except those removed from the file because there is too little information. These include those coded as not subject to review, those whose review was incomplete, those who are ineligible, and a few households dropped due to inconsistencies in the data.
Participation: Mandatory. States must report data to Food and Nutrition Service (FNS).
Sampling Methodology: All state agencies (including the District of Columbia, Guam and the Virgin Islands) are required to select monthly a statistically random sample from a universe of all households receiving Food Stamp benefits for that given month. Most state agencies draw the samples systematically (i.e. using a constant sampling interval), though there are some state agencies which employ simple random and/or stratified sampling techniques. All sampling plans must be approved by FNS. Required annual sample sizes range from 300 for state agencies with small Food Stamp caseloads (e.g. Wyoming and Guam), to over 1000 for larger states, with the average being around 950 per state. State agencies are required to complete reviews for at least 98 percent of those selected cases which are deemed to be part of the desired Food Stamp universe. The review findings and data for each state are reported to FNS when the review is completed. These data form the basis for the public FSPQC database.
Strengths: The FSPQC database contains a large number of AI/AN/NA respondents. The data are collected on key policy issues, including family well-being. There are multiple years of data available with little missing data (less than 1 percent missing data for the race variable in 48 states). The documentation is very detailed.
Limitations: The Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR) is administered at the federal level by the FNS in cooperation with 98 tribal organizations and 6 state agencies. Many Native Americans actually participate in the FDPIR rather than the Food Stamp Program because of rural isolation and the lack of easy access to food stores. Therefore, the FSPQC underrepresents American Indians who live on reservations and receive nutrition assistance.

Additionally, the FSPQC data are limited regarding the asset and vehicle holdings of FSP participants, and there are no data available for eligible non-participants. There are also no data available for those receiving disaster benefits, as these cases are not subject to review.

Access Requirements and Use Restrictions: Data are available to the public at no cost.
Contact Information: The contact for obtaining FSPQC data is as follows:

Office of Analysis, Nutrition, and Evaluation
USDA Food and Nutrition Service
3101 Park Center Drive, Room 1014
Alexandria, Virginia 22302
703-305-2017

Additionally, a restricted version of the FSPQC data can be downloaded from the following website: http://host4.mathematica-mpr.com/fns/fnsqcdata/download.htm.

Reports of Interest: Background Report on the Use and Impact of Food Assistance Programs on Indian Reservations. January 2005. Finegold, K., Pindus, N., Wherry, L., Nelson, S., Triplett, T., Capps, R. The Urban Institute.

Characteristics of Food Stamp Households: Fiscal Year 2004. September 2005. Anni Poikolainen. Mathematica Policy Research, Inc.

 

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